Phenibut is a supplement with Nootropic effects that many people use for general anxiety disorder, social anxiety, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and as a sleep aid.
What is Phenibut?
Phenibut (Fenibut or Noofen) is chemically known as beta-phenyl-gamma-aminobutyric acid. This supplement is a modified version of
GABA that is able to cross the blood-brain barrier (reach the brain).
Interestingly, it was originally developed in the Soviet Union in the 1960’s for cosmonauts (Russian Space Agency) to help them ease high stress while in space. The compound needed to possess anxiolytic properties (anxiety and stress reducing effects) while simultaneously still acting as a focus enhancer.
Phenibut was further introduced into clinical practice in Russia and is still used there as a pharmaceutical to treat depression, insomnia, anxiety, alcoholism, stuttering and PTSD.
Recently arriving on the market in the United States and many parts of Europe as a health supplement, available without a prescription, it rapidly gained a lot popularity. It is most commonly used as an anxiolytic, mood enhancer and as a sleep aid.
User reviews on Phenibut, commonly include reports of feelings of well-being, calmness, reduced social inhibitions, anti-depressant effects and the general ability to relax.
There have also been reports on the Nootropic-like effects of Phenibut, where users attest to this supplement helping to improve learning and attention span, focus, memory, concentration and even decision making skills.
This article will discuss how Phenibut works, the potential benefits and guidelines for safe use of this supplement and additional reports on user experiences.
Phenibut Supplement Benefits & Effects For Anxiety
The primary and supported effects of Phenibut is anxiolytic (acts to reduce anxiety). One of the most notable potential benefits of this supplement is that it may help to reduce anxiousness while still maintaining mental performance.
When taking prescribed medications for these purposes, it may accompany sluggishness and reduced cognitive ability however, Phenibut does not have this unwanted side effect.
Additionally, many people who suffer from social and general anxiety have reported better results using Phenibut than prescriptive medications or alcohol (also a GABA-agonist).
Phenibut is a GABA agonist. Which means, it may have sedative effects. It is a derivative of the most important natural inhibitory (calming) neurotransmitter or chemical messenger in the brain called GABA.
This supplement is able to cross the blood-brain barrier, unlike GABA supplementation, due to the addition of a phenyl ring or phenyl group molecule, that is added to the GABA structure.
GABA’s role is essential for maintaining balance between neuronal excitation and inhibition. Excitatory chemicals in the brain stimulate greater activity in the neurons. This means they may fire too fast. Without proper GABA levels to balance them out, overstimulation can occur, which is thought to be a major cause of anxiety.
Some of the common symptoms associated with low GABA levels are nervousness, uncontrollable or obsessive thoughts, poor mood, insomnia, depression and difficulty concentrating. When GABA levels are optimized, you feel more relaxed and focused, which leads to a better mood.
Once Phenibut reaches the brain, it decreases the effect of overly stimulated neurons, reducing the function of other neurotransmitters and binding to GABA-B receptors to help restore balance. This may have highly beneficial effects on stress and anxiety. At higher doses, it’s thought to target GABA-A receptors, which are the same receptors that are targeted by alcohol.
Another observed effect of Phenibut is the stimulation of Dopamine receptors at low levels. This is a major mood neurotransmitter responsible for regulating motivation and pleasure. Cognitively, it is also associated with mental focus, attention and memory formation.
The boosting Dopamine effect may be why many Phenibut users report feeling more focused, motivated and confident, which is recognizably different from anxiety.
While Phenibut is prescribed in Russia as a treatment for anxiety, it is not an approved drug by the FDA in the United States to prevent or cure any conditions. More research is needed in the US to determine the effects it may have on conditions related to anxiety, depression and insomnia.
Phenibut As a Sleep Aid
Phenibut is a commonly used supplement for enhancing relaxation and quality of sleep. Many users report it’s potent effects on the ability to fall asleep with more ease, achieve a restful, deep night’s sleep and wake up feeling refreshed. It may even promote lucid dreaming.
This supplement acts primarily as an anxiolytic. It is thought to work at hindering signals from the central nervous system (CNS) which are associated with anxiety. Reducing higher than normal signaling may reduce anxious thoughts and feelings which can be beneficial for sleep quality and insomnia.
Phenibut promotes a feelings of relaxation and calmness. People may use Phenibut when they are unwilling to use pharmaceutical sleep aids, as a sedative or ataractic agent (tranquilizing effect). Currently, Russian research shows that it is used to help with insomnia. The relaxing effects may be comparable to Valium.
Constant worrying, irritability and restlessness often lead to sleep issues. This may be due to hormonal changes, excessive stress, depression and other factors.
Proper amounts and quality of sleep is vital for brain and body maintenance and a lack of it, can impair cognitive processing, especially memory. By reducing anxiousness before bedtime with proper use of Phenibut, users may experience the ability to relax and fall asleep quickly.
In addition, Phenibut stays in the body for a long period time. This means, that it may help you stay asleep and even promote deep REM sleep. However, it also means that your body builds a tolerance to it, so it is not recommended to use more than once or twice a week.
Other noted effects of Phenibut as a sleep aid, is that it may be beneficial for bodybuilders, strength trainers and people who exercise rigorously. The state of deep REM sleep helps the body secrete growth hormones, which boost muscle recovery after intense workouts.
How to Take Phenibut for Anxiety & Sleep
Phenibut is considered safe to use for most adults at low dosages. However, it is strongly recommended to NOT combine this supplement with alcohol, benzodiazepines such as Xanax, Valium, Klonopin or any others or other GABA agonists.
The use of Phenibut for anxiety is remarkably well tolerated. However, potential mild side effects can include fatigue, dizziness and stomach aches, which are common side effects of all GABA agonists, especially when taken out of the safe range of the recommended dosage. Some users have also reported vivid dreams and pain in the limbs. More serious side effects if used improperly can include memory loss or unconsciousness.
Since Phenibut is primarily a sleep enhancer, you may only want to take it occasionally for anxiety, when you know you will be in a high stressful situation. Other from that, it may be better to take it later in the afternoon or in the evening for this purpose to avoid getting too drowsy during the day. This supplement may stay in the body for up to 24 hours.
As a sleep enhancer, take Phenibut 2-3 hours prior to bedtime. Users report a feeling of gradual relaxation and sleepiness, as this supplement kicks in, you may be able to fall asleep easily. Mild, next day grogginess may occur when you first wake up but some user reports say they mostly felt refreshed.
Phenibut is not recommended for daily use for anxiety or as a sleep aid. There is potential risk of addiction when taking it excessively. To avoid this risk, it is recommended that you only use this supplement once or twice a week as needed.
If taking Phenibut on a regular basis, you can quickly build a tolerance to it, which will reduce it’s effects and may also lead to serious withdrawal symptoms once you stop taking it. Cycling Phenibut is recommended. Dosage levels should also not be abused.
Almost all information on Phenibut effects thus far, comes from anecdotal evidence. Many users report that Phenibut has helped them deal with stress, anxiety and lack of sleep. However, more scientific research is needed to determine it’s effectiveness and effects of long-term use for these purposes.
It is always recommended to speak with your doctor first before taking a new supplement, especially if you take other medications or if you currently have any conditions.
Phenibut Dosage Guide
Phenibut is considered to be effective as a sleep aid and anti-anxiety promoter by users but proper usage of this supplement is very important to avoid potential side effects.
It is always recommended to stay within the lowest dosage available when starting on any new supplement to gauge your body’s effect and see what works best for you. This is especially recommended when taking Phenibut.
The manufacturers recommended dosage is approximately 300mg per serving. This dosage or even less at 250mg is a good starting point to achieve potential relaxation and calming effects.
Phenibut should only be taken 1-2 times a week at most and cycled. It is not recommended for continuous use. You can build up a tolerance to this supplement, so taking it occasionally is recommended. Phenibut also poses risks of withdrawal if taken on an ongoing bases.
Do not exceed 1000mg per day. Some users have reported increasing their dosage gradually and over time to reach 1g per day on days when taking Phenibut. This may raise the risk of tolerance forming and withdrawal.
Phenibut has a long plasma half-life, approximately 5 hours, however the effects can linger long after your kidneys have excreted it, which means one dose can last all day. It is best to wait 24 hours before further dosing.
Phenibut can be taking in a powder form that is mixed with water or taken in capsules form. These are general guidelines. If you have any concerns, please consult your doctor first before taking Phenibut.